Thor Outboard Motors

   The Thor Outboard Motor was the creation of Mr. Thorwald Hansen. Prior to developing his outboard motor, Mr. Hansen was vice President of manufacturing for A.O. Smith Corporation, a company that manufactured automobile frames.

   In 1934 he founded Cedarburg Manufacturing Company located in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. The Thor outboard was unique, in that it was mostly made from stampings. The crankcase down to the lower unit, were all made from stampings. Most halves were nut and bolted together, although some were welded.

   The use of these 1/8 inch steel stampings in stress areas actually made the outboard very strong. The use of mild Steel for ease of production, caused early corrosion in fresh water and obviously accelerated in salt water. It is believed that, these early signs of rusting caused concern with potential customers.

   In 1938 Thor produced the first inline 3 cylinder outboard, called the "Thor Pyramid Three". The Thor outboard had some other issues, over and above the corrosion problems. These could all have been over come, but as with so many small companies financial difficulties caused Mr. Hansen to sell the company in 1939.

   The Cedarburg Manufacturing Company was sold to Carl Kiekhaefer for 25,000. Mr. Kiekhaefer was a young engineer and had intended to use the facilities for manufacturing electrical devices.

   Upon take over of the factory, Mr. Kiekhaefer found several hundred Thor outboards that had been returned from Montgomery Wards as being defective. Needing cash, he rebuilt and improved these outboards and convinced Montgomery Wards to try them again.

   Montgomery Wards was so impressed with improvements, they placed another large order with Mr. Kiekhaefer. Like they say, life turns on a dime. It was this order from Montgomery Wards that caused Mr. Kiekhaefer to enter the outboard motor field.

   In 1939 Kiekhaefer manufactured a single, alternate twin and the inline 3 cylinder with the Thor brand name. Using material and tooling that was still in place. He renamed the factory the Kiekhaefer Corporation.

   In 1940 Mr. Kiekhaefer had totally redesigned the Thor outboard. He took the name of the Roman Messenger of the Gods and named his new outboard Mercury . He continued to manufacture outboards for Montgomery Wards under the "Sea King" brand and also under the brand name Mercury.

   The production of the Thor outboard motor and history ends in 1939. This story picks up with production history of Mercury.

   Hard core parts for these outboards are getting more difficult to find as time goes on. Many older outboards used common Ignition and Carburetor venders for that period. Discount Marine Parts has Ignition and Carburetor repair kits for most all of these older outboards. If we don't have what your looking for, we have many sources to locate your part. Obviously some parts are just not available. We can sometimes find it used and often we have the part made if there is enough demand. Discount Marine Parts has a large inventory of parts for most brands of American made Outboards, Inboards and Sterndrives. We also have most parts and service manuals available.

             Thank you for stopping by and please come back!

Thor   Model Year Guide

1935 - 1939

Model Serial Description HP Cyl Notes
    Single 2.4 1  
    Single 2.4 1  
    Opposed Twin 4.8 2  
    Single 2.4 1  
    Opposed Twin 4.8 2  
    Single 2.4 1 N2
    Opposed Twin 4.8 2 N2
    Pyramid Three 6 3 N2
    Streamliner 2.4 1 N1 N2   Made by Kiekhaefer
    Alternate Twin 4.1 2 N1 N2   Made by Kiekhaefer
    Inline 3 Cylinder 6.2 3 N1 N2   Made by Kiekhaefer

N1 - Kiekhaefer manufactured some improved Thor's to fill a Montgomery Wards order.
N2 - Although some outboards were sold with the Thor name, from 1938 most carried the Sea King name.

Thor Production Was Discontinued In   1939

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Phone       4524 D Road  •  PO Box 98       Fax
906-466-2180       Bark River, MI 49807       906-466-0217

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Last Modified: 3/18/04